Definition A term referring to dissidents in Argentina* who, per spin doctors in that country’s so-called Dirty War, were neither dead nor alive, but had simply vanished.
*But also in other countries, including Guatemala, Haiti, and other totalitarian states. In many countries, bodies of the victims might be found years to decades later in mass graves, when the culpable regime changes or collapses. The word desaparecido is particularly apropos for the victims of Argentina’s Dirty War, given that the captives were drugged and loaded onto aircraft, from which they were thrown alive while in flight into the Atlantic Ocean, leaving no trace of their death. Without dead bodies, the government could deny knowledge of their whereabouts and accusations that they had been killed.
Synonym Spanish, the ones who disappeared